I use FlatRedBall for Silverlight game development (casual, Flash-style games). I'm toying with the idea of getting a laptop to develop during my commute (~4 hours per day). Probably on Windows XP, but more likely to be whatever's pre-loaded -- my guess would be Vista.

What are the elements that I should consider for laptops that are specific to Silverlight game development? For example:

  • Sound is not important; I just need speakers, any sound-card will do.
  • Heavy graphics are quite unlikely

Beyond this, I'm not sure about:

  • Is dual-core important, or is a single core probably sufficient?
  • How much RAM is too little? How much is probably too much?
  • What other factors should I take into consider?

I know a bunch of similar questions have been closed, so I tried to make this generic and more broad; I will need to research laptops available to me once I've figured out what to look for.


Well for starters:

As no major manufacturer should be selling you a machine are shipping with Vista or XP these days (I know at least dell cut them off) you're going to end up on 7, which is hardly a bad thing.

Nearly no mid-range laptops ship without a dual core processor these days, however not having one would really be a bad decision performance wise.

As far as ram, I'd recommend shooting for a minimum of 4gb for doing any amount of dev work, I personally have 8gb in my Macbook Pro

As far as other considerations, the newer cores (IE Intel's Core i Series), have much better power consumption to performance ratios than their predecessors. I'm not sure what brand you're looking at, but anything that can help you're battery life couldn't really hurt.

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  • I assumed as much about OS and CPU. Quad core is probably overkill. But is 4GB overkill? My desktop has 3GB. I guess it depends on price. What other considerations are important for prolonging battery life? – ashes999 Feb 9 '11 at 12:16
  • Obviously battery life matters, most of the MacBook line now claims "8 Hours" I have the 15" i7 and can normally pull 5 under a decent load. That said, I've had mixed mileage with other brands. Cell count on the battery matters, as does the speed of the hard drive, processor power, etc. The ram helps as what you can keep in ram dosn't have to be swapped to the disk. Is there a price range you're looking in? – Nathaniel Bannister Feb 9 '11 at 16:54
  • I don't have a range in mind (and that would make this question too locality specific); instead, I'm looking for general guidelines, after which I will apply them to whatever I can find locally, and poof -- new laptop. – ashes999 Feb 10 '11 at 20:40

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